Billy Horschel, Sam Burns And Jason Day Involved In Drop Drama

Playing the par 4 16th, the trio discussed at length where Burns' golf ball had crossed the penalty area

Players discuss a drop
(Image credit: Twitter: @PGATOUR)

Another day and another drop debacle, this time, involving the trio of Billy Horschel, Jason Day and Sam Burns at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. (opens in new tab) 

Playing an alternate shot format (opens in new tab) during the final day, the paring of Horschel and Burns were attempting to chase down eventual winners, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay (opens in new tab), as the duo looked to add yet another title to their CV's.

However, playing the driveable par 4 16th, Burns was forced in to having a go at the green, with the pair realistically needing an eagle to make any sizeable gain on their fellow countryman. Although Burns caught his tee shot sweet, he turned it over, with the drive finding a watery grave to the left of the green.

What followed was a slightly lengthy discussion on where the ball had crossed the hazard mark, with neither player unsure on where it had indeed gone in. 

Watch the video below to see what happened.

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In the video, you can hear Horschel (opens in new tab) doing most of the talking, with the American stating: "I had it here and I had it bouncing." He goes on to say: "I don't think I could of seen the ball land below the red line from back there because of the elevation change and being blocked out by the bunker. For me to see it land, it would of had to  of been above the red line."

As the trio ask the cameramen on site if the TV broadcast have footage, a rules official comes over to the players to explain the situation, with Golf Rules Analyst, Craig Winter, stating that: "If this is the only (camera) angle we have - It's not definitive, so we are probably going to have to go with the players and what they would be able to see, as well as what any other volunteers would be able to see." 

What we do hear is a rules official state on the radio that: "We cannot see down the embankment far enough on that camera angle," before Horschel then repeats what he essentially said earlier to his playing partner, Jason Day (opens in new tab).

The rules on penalty areas (opens in new tab) state that you must drop your ball back in line with where it crossed the penalty area, or within two club lengths of where it crossed. You also have the option to go back to where you originally played the shot from.

As the official on-site voices back to his colleague that: "Billy said he saw the ball bounce and it kicked left going just right of a red stake. They believe it crossed up here." Horschel was allowed to drop it by the green instead of having to go a number of yards back.

"What we are going to do here is use the players reasonable judgement," states Winter, who then adds: "This is just reasonable judgement. Billy said he saw it bounce. The video isn't telling us one way or the other exactly what happened. It did bounce, but ultimately, we are going to use the players reasonable judgement."

Burns and Horschel walk

Horschel and Burns would finish runners-up, just two shots back of fellow countrymen, Schauffele and Cantlay.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Following the drop, Horschel would stick his chip to near gimme range, with Burns tapping-in for a saved par at TPC Louisiana (opens in new tab). As the duo remained two shots back of the leaders, they would go on to bogey the 17th, with a closing par meaning the pair finished two shots back of Schauffele and Cantlay.

Over the past few months, incidents like these seem to be happening more and more often on the PGA Tour. In March, Daniel Berger was involved in an altercation at The Players Championship (opens in new tab) when his playing partners, Viktor Hovland and Joel Dahmen, disagreed on where his ball had actually crossed the hazard line.

Just a few weeks later, Berger was involved in yet another incident, this time with Tyrrell Hatton (opens in new tab)who, at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, was unsure if his ball had crossed the wasteland area up by the green or a lot further back. 

The result? Well, Hatton had to walk some 120-yards down the fairway to play his fourth shot, as the duo couldn't agree on where the ball had gone in to the penalty area.

Matt Cradock
Matt Cradock

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.